Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London, Day 7, Bedford Square (no.40)

Torrington and Woburn Squares are also great ornaments to the neighbourhood..’,

says Mr Bradshaw, but oddly he doesn’t mention Bedford Square.


Bedford Square was built between 1775-80 on the Bedford Estates to a design by Thomas Leverton and by the builder/contractors William Scott and Robert Grews. On Roque’s map of 1746 the area was still fields, with a stream! The square was designed as housing for the wealthy and remained so until the end of the 19C, a quiet residential haven around a leafy, private garden. It is the only complete Georgian Square in London, many of the buildings Grade I listed, although now mostly offices.

Each side of the square is the same, with a white-fronted building in the middle to create the impression of a palace along the entire side of the square, and Thomas Leverton himself lived at no.13.

Bedford Square

Bedford Square

Until 1893 the square was gated and goods had to be hand-delivered, says The London Encyclopaediahowever, I can’t find corroboration for this, or even an image of gates at the square. Were the gates at the corners of the square?

Bedford Square

Building specifications were stringent (more here):

The doorcases are made of Coade stone; designers who worked on the interiors included Bonomi, Angelica Kauffmann, and possibly John Flaxman (Survey of London, vol. 5, 1914)

Until c.1850 this was a favoured residential area for those in the legal profession; No.6 was occupied by two Lord Chancellors – Lords Loughborough and Eldon. This east side of the square was the most desirable because the buildings backed on to the gardens of Montague House, and no.6 is the largest house on the square.

No.6 Bedford Square

No.6 Bedford Square

Lantern over staircase, no.6 Bedford Square (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol5/pt2/plate-70)

Lantern over staircase, no.6 Bedford Square (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol5/pt2/plate-70)

Chimney-Piece, front room, first floor, No.6 Bedford Square (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol5/pt2/plate-71)

Chimney-Piece, front room, first floor, No.6 Bedford Square (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol5/pt2/plate-71)

No.1 Bedford Square (East Side)

No.1 Bedford Square (East Side)

Today the square retains a serene and peaceful elegance, and the gardens are still private.

Bedford Square

Bedford Square

Bedford Square

Bedford Square

You may be interested in
Bloomsbury Squares & Gardens
Bedford Square
Overview of Bedford Square (very clear post)
A post about the residents of Bedford Square
English Heritage article